Kevin McHale Says James Harden is a ‘Scorer at Heart’

by October 12, 2016

Former Rockets head coach Kevin McHale is giving a bit of side-eye to Houston’s decision to move James Harden into a point guard role.

McHale is back working in TV, and says Harden’s scoring mentality may get in the way of his playmaking duties.

Harden, 27, is extremely focused heading into his eighth NBA season.


“You are who you are a lot of times,” McHale, who will analyze games for TNT this season, said during a Tuesday conference call with reporters. “Can you change and be a facilitator first? I don’t know. Kevin Garnett, a guy I go way, way back with — Kevin Garnett was always a pass-first player. He was a pass-first player his first day of practice when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.


“James is a scorer, and at the end of the day, you do fall back on what you are. James is a scorer at heart. Can you change that? … Can you be something that you’re really not for an entire 82-game season? He’s a great facilitator, great passer, and he has great vision — he really is a scorer as a basketball player.”


McHale said Harden dominated the ball when he coached the Rockets, moving traditional point guard Patrick Beverley to shooting guard at times. Beverley’s touch rate was 55.8 percent last season, compared to Harden’s 85.1. […] Those numbers are expected to increase under D’Antoni’s up-tempo offense, which calls for spacing for outside shooting, the ability to push the pace and high pick-and-rolls.

James Harden: ‘I Got a Little Bit of [Steve] Nash in Me’